JULIA BULLYGAN: The Resurrection Begins
by TIM HICKS
Departure of Julia Mulligan from Yorkshire Politics
Mrs Julia Mulligan officially stood down as Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for North Yorkshire on the 13th of May, when Philip Allott replaced her. She is known as Julia Bullygan locally after an investigation found she had bullied multiple members of her staff in the Office of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (OPFCC).
In March 2019, the Conservative Party refused to automatically select her to be its candidate at the PFCC elections in May 2021 -effectively de selecting her. NYE article here. Typically, instead of accepting any personal responsibility for this, she retaliated by blaming her failure on institutional misogyny amongst North Yorkshire Conservatives. Yorkshire Post article here.
No doubt Julia Mulligan’s departure from the role of PFCC was met with huge sighs of relief by both North Yorkshire Conservatives – who were rid of an electoral liability – and OPFCC employees – because they will no longer have to suffer her bullying. However, it was a sad day for the NYE. She provided the NYE with many fine stories, photoons and cartoons.
She also provided the NYE with our biggest ever article in Private Eye when she siphoned off hundreds of thousands of pounds of Police funds so Chief Police Officers and a Conservative politician could make a huge personal profit by suing NYE journalists for damages. As you can see, this attempt to bully the NYE into silence failed, further damaging her reputation.
Julia Mulligan resurrects her political career
When she was found to have bullied her staff, PFCC Mulligan was the “National Spokesperson for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) on Transparency and Integrity”. This made her a laughing stock and caused the APCC enormous embarrassment.
I was therefore incredulous to read that Mrs Mulligan has been appointed as the Chair of the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW). On the 22nd of April 2021, the Home Office and PABEW issued this statement, the Cabinet Office issued this statement.
“Julia Mulligan is an experienced senior leader in the policing and fire sectors. …..She will stand down from her role as PFCC on 7 May.
Julia has held a number of national roles, including six years as a Director of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), the national body for Police and Crime Commissioners. Her national portfolios included Transparency and Integrity, and joint lead for Victims and Violence Against Women and Girls, as well as co-chairing the APCC’s Race Disparity Working Group.
In May 2020, Julia was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, which works to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. She is also a member of Dame Sara Thornton’s Advisory Panel which provides support and advice to the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, and a member of the national Fire Standards Board. Julia has a keen interest in supporting victims and vulnerable people, which is reflected in her role as Chair of Independent Domestic Abuse Services (IDAS), one of the largest specialist domestic abuse charities in the North of England.”
Mrs Mulligan will be paid £431 per day for twenty-one day’s work per year, for three years from the 16th of April 2021.
This similar statement dated the 6th of May confirms that Mrs Mulligan was appointed as a “Senior Independent Director” of the Independent Office of Police Conduct.
Mrs Mulligan’s Register of Interests
PFCC Mulligan’s register of interests dated the 27th of April 2021 confirms she has obtained the following additional employments over the last sixteen months:
- 1 January 2020: Unremunerated trustee of the Independent Domestic Abuse Service.
- 1 September 2020: Remunerated appointment as an independent member of the Parole Board.
- “As at the date of this declaration”(27th of April 2021) “(by way of update to my declaration dated 26 March 2020)” a remunerated appointment as a Non-Executive Director and Board Member of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority.
- 1 April 2021 remunerated appointment with the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales. “No conflict of interest (or significant risk of conflict of interest) is considered by HM Government to arise”.
- “With effect from a date to be fixed I have a remunerated public appointment as an independent non-executive director with another independent statutory body. That appointment will not be announced publicly for the time being and in practice I will not exercise any function in that regard until after my term of office as Police Fire and Crime Commissioner has concluded.”
This secretive statement warranted more investigation.
In addition, Mrs Mulligan has the following appointments. It has not been possible to identify when these appointments were made and how much she is paid for them, because she has not declared them in her Register of Interests:
- Dame Sara Thornton’s Advisory Panel.
- The Fire Standards Board.
A new Declaration of Interests, dated the 7th of May (the day after the election for PFCC and the announcement of her IOPC job), appeared on PFCC’s website, which resolved the mystery around appointment 5 above:
“With effect from 7 may 2021 I have a remunerated public appointment as an independent non-executive director with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC). I will not exercise any function in that regard until after my term of office as Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has concluded”.
A Policeman’s assessment of Mrs Mulligan as PFCC
Contrary to the glowing appraisal provided by the Home Office above, former Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Federation Mike Stubbs has kindly provided the NYE with an in-depth assessment, which I can only describe as articulate and incisive. It covers a wide range of major failings by Mrs Mulligan and raises concerns about her appointment to the PABEW. Mr Stubbs is a NYP insider and his views will no doubt reflect opinion amongst NYP officers:
The announcement last week that outgoing North Yorkshire Police Fire & Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan was to be appointed as Chair of the Police Advisory Board for England & Wales was as depressing as it was predictable. It was an undeserved reward for a politician who, for 9 years, had put self and party above the interests of the public of North Yorkshire.
Julia Mulligan was elected as Police & Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire in 2012, just as the ideologically-motivated attack on policing was gathering pace, under Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May. That unrelenting assault would see the number of police officer numbers in England & Wales fall by over 20,000 in less than a decade. Police support staff were similarly decimated, driving officers back to completing administrative tasks, and out of public view.
North Yorkshire Police took its share of these huge reductions but the budget reductions didn’t only drive a loss in the numbers of officers and staff. The closure of police stations and custody suites became common place, communities paying the price for government policy. Today there are just three custody suites to service the 3000 square miles of North Yorkshire. All too often, police officers in many of the county’s rural locations face an impossible choice – make an arrest and leave colleagues short of back up while you transport a prisoner half way across the county, or leave offenders not properly dealt with for their actions. Some will argue that there are alternative methods of dealing with criminals – but a fixed penalty notice or being reported for summons does little to deter those who should have their liberty removed, nor does it instil confidence in the public who see such behaviour not being properly addressed.
In 2015, as Chair of North Yorkshire Police Federation, I called for an open and honest conversation with the public of North Yorkshire about how the drastic funding cuts would impact on policing in their communities. Instead, under Julia Mulligan’s stewardship, North Yorkshire Police embarked on a smoke and mirrors public relations campaign, which has paraded successive ground-breaking initiatives, but kept hidden the real outcomes:
- In 2015, a joint venture between the dog sections of North Yorkshire Police, Durham Constabulary and Cleveland Police was announced, and it was launched in 2016. It was claimed that the venture would save North Yorkshire Police over £170,000 per year. https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/crime/north-yorkshire-dog-unit-merger-comes-force-today-1794038
- By 2019, the venture had been quietly dropped, the announcement buried in a decision notice on the Police Fire & Crime Commissioner’s website, with no mention in the media to inform the public. https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/news/cleveland-durham-and-north-yorkshire-police-to-have-individual-police-dog-units/
- It was a similar story in 2018 when Julia Mulligan announced that she was committing a significant proportion of the money raised through an increase in the ‘Police precept’ element of Council Tax, to provide a training dedicated training facility for the Force Control Room, (FCR), and to provide more staff to improve the force’s call handling performance, a total investment of £3 million. https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/decision-notices/dn-05-2018-101-999-crime-recording-improvements/ Again, both the announcement, and the subsequent opening of the training facility were widely publicised. https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/16081916.3m-upgrade-north-yorkshire-police-control-room/, https://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/16372160.new-north-yorkshire-police-control-room-help-reduce-call-waiting-times/ What was not so widely publicised was that just 9 months later, in April 2019, there was a voluntary redundancy programme for staff in the Force Control Room. This was so badly managed that it became simply a ‘Golden Goodbye’ for many staff who were approaching retirement in any case. Not only that, too many staff were allowed to leave, causing a crisis in call handling.
- Following the takeover of North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, the Enable initiative was launched, to bring together the back office functions of both organisations. https://www.northyorkshire-pfcc.gov.uk/decision-notices/dn-04-2020-enable-north-yorkshire/ So far, the major achievement of Enable seems to have been to grant substantial pay rises to the senior managers within it.
Before she leaves office, Julia Mulligan owes the Council Tax payers of North Yorkshire an explanation as to where their money, which was supposed to be invested in increased staffing in the Force Control Room, actually went. The answer probably lies somewhere in the mystery that is the black hole in North Yorkshire Police finances. Again, this has been carefully hidden from the public.
Prior to the unexpected departure of Chief Constable Dave Jones in 2018, circulations inside the force put the shortfall at £4 million. By the time he actually left, that had risen to £7 million. After that, figures were no longer published, even internally, but rumours of £11 million plus circulated in the force. The position was so dire that consultants Price Waterhouse Cooper were brought in, to advise North Yorkshire Police on how to make savings. How much these consultants are being paid appears to be a closely guarded secret, even their presence has gone unacknowledged.
Bringing in outside consultants does not necessarily have the intended outcome. I have it on good authority that one of their earliest recommendations was to sell off the force’s Armed Response Vehicles (ARVS).
Apparently, they failed to understand why armed officers, with their ballistic body armour and helmets, automatic weapons, side arms, baton guns, ammunition and vehicle-fitted gun safes could not simply use the same category of vehicle as their Response colleagues, when the need arose. The issue PWC overlooked is weight. North Yorkshire Police used to use Volvo T5 estates as ARVs but, carrying all that equipment, even they were so close to their legal maximum laden weight that an instruction was issued that no more than two officers could be carried in the vehicle.
The Armed Response Vehicles were not disposed of, but other vehicles have disappeared from the fleet. In 2020, it was reported that the Richmondshire District alone was to lose three vehicles. https://www.thescarboroughnews.co.uk/news/crime/vehicle-cuts-affecting-rural-policing-north-yorkshire-2000353
I understand that the recommendation was to cut around 80 vehicles from the force’s fleet, a massive blow to the practicalities of policing England’s single largest county. Again, the actual number of vehicles that were lost across the county remains hidden from the public.
It would be easy to lay all these ills solely at the door of Julia Mulligan. But they would not have been possible without the complicity, willing or otherwise, of the force’s senior officers.
The timing of the announcement of Julia Mulligan’s appointment as Chair of the Police Advisory Board for England & Wales, just 2 weeks before the election of the next PFCC for North Yorkshire, appears cynical – a political ploy to create a veneer of competence for a Conservative PFCC who lost the support of her own local party. Airbrushing that bolsters the election chances of her successor as Conservative candidate.”
For reasons of space, I cannot publish all of Mr Stubbs comments on media suppression in this article. Suffice it to say that his comments above vindicate concerns I have raised many times that both PFCC Mulligan and Chief Constable Winward have both ruthlessly abused their offices by withholding information from journalists. Thereby supressing the media and preventing legitimate criticism by a free press. I will publish his views in full in a follow-up article: IW6 Media Suppression: The NYP Prototype.
I have a number of concerns about Mrs Mulligan’s various extra employment’s:
- Julia Mulligan’s performance as PFCC demonstratesa long history of refusing to confront police misconduct (articles here and here). She supported Chief Constable Winward’s decision not to investigate herself or any of her officers for breaching the coronavirus regulations, or take any action against two officers photographed sleeping on duty. This obviously makes her unfit for employment in the IOPC.
- Mrs Mulligan’s memberships of Dame Sara Thornton’s Advisory Panel and the Fire Standards Board are not recorded in the Register of Interests. They have only emerged because reference to them was made in the statements above, so there could be other undisclosed roles and remuneration.
- The date of Mrs Mulligan’s appointment as a Non-Executive Director and Board Member of the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority is not disclosed in her Register of Interests.
- The statement from the Home Office concerning Mrs Mulligan’s appointment to the PABEW is misleading. She was appointed on the 1stof April, not the 16th.
- Mrs Mulligan’s Register of Interests should have been openly updated with her appointment to the PABEW and IOPC on confirmation.
- Mrs Mulligan’s Register of Interests initially made a veiled reference to her IOPC appointment to the IOPC as “a remunerated public appointment as an independent non-executive director with another independent statutory body”. The entry to the Register of Interests on the 7thof May fully disclosing the IOPC appointment is an update to the disguised entry made on the 27th of April 2021, which has completely disappeared. Thereby concealing the initial inadequate disclosure.
- It appears that full disclosure was not made until the 7thof May to conceal it during the PFCC election on the 6th of May, although the electorate was entitled to know it.
- The Register of Interests states “No conflict of interest (or significant risk of conflict of interest) is considered by HM Government to arise” from the appointment to the PABEW. This is for the OPFCC monitoring officer to determine, not the Home Office. It was wrong for Mrs Mulligan to use compliance advice from her future employer, this was the duty of the OPFCC Monitoring Officer.
In fact contrary to Mrs Mulligan’s assurances, there are very serious conflicts of interest involved with all of these appointments:
- On the 3rdof March 2021 Mrs Mulligan gave evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee on the IOPC in her capacity as PFCC. She was very positive about the IOPC, (see here), but did not declare she was under contract to the IOPC while simultaneously giving evidence on it.
- There are currently a number of unfilled vacancies in the OPFCC, including Deputy PFCC. The OPFCC is led by a part time Chief Executive. Under these circumstances Mrs Mulligan needed to be fully engaged in the duties of being PFCC, so she can give the role the attention it deserves. Yet Mrs Mulligan has accepted remunerated and unremunerated appointments with seven public bodies, which must have prevented her from being fully effective in her duties as PFCC.
- The PFCC Website states (here) that Mrs Mulligan will stop being the PFCC on the 12thof May. But PFCC Mulligan started work for the IOPC and PABEW before that. The timing of these various appointments appears to me to be intended to ensure she could receive multiple incomes in the last six weeks she was PFCC.
- This article in the Harrogate News confirms that Mr Allott was de facto acting as PFCC from the 7th of May onwards. So the good taxpayers of North Yorkshire paid PFCC Mulligan one week’s pay for nothing while PFCC Allott performed the role and PFCC Mulligan was simultaneously employed and paid by the IOPC. PABEW, OPFCC; Parole Board and the Gangmasters & Labour Abuse Authority.
This all appears to me to be contrary to the Nolan Principles of conduct in public life, the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners Ethical Framework and the requirement to be transparent contained in the PFCCs oath of office.
Being PFCC is a full time appointment, which is reflected in the enormous salary of £74,400 per annum. All of the candidates for PFCC whom I interviewed during the election accepted this and emphasised that they would give up all other employments to fulfil the role.
Mrs Mulligan knew she could not continue as PFCC in March 2019. Prior to this date, she did not have any other additional employments and commendably devoted herself 100% to her duties as PFCC. However, it appears that since the 1st of September 2020 she has been positioning herself to further her career as a senior Conservative politician by moonlighting on other work, while inevitably neglecting her PFCC duties.
This strategy has worked perfectly for PFCC Mulligan. As you can see from the various announcements of her new roles above quoted above, moonlighting for other employers positioned her to get the new jobs with the IOPC and PABEW.
I know from my own experience that reading all the papers, preparing and attending a Board meeting can take two or three days. To put this in context. Assuming that PFCC Mulligan spent one or two days a month on each of her various additional employments and associated interview processes, in the last twelve months, she could have spent up to a hundred days moonlighting on non PFCC work, while simultaneously being paid to work as PFCC. I estimate that she probably spent 59 days moonlighting at a cost to the long suffering North Yorkshire Tax Payer of about £19,000.
This will also have had an operational impact as well as a financial impact. For example, this Public Accountability Meeting was chaired by the Chief Executive because he assured us PFCC Mulligan was delayed and would join in a few minutes; but in fact she did not attend at all. It is essential the PFCC – not a substitute – attends these meetings so that she is publicly accountable.
Be that as it may. In summary, a senior Conservative politician has furthered her political career, by neglecting her role as PFCC and moonlighting for multiple public bodies when she was paid to work as PFCC. Mrs Mulligan, the OPFCC and the Home Office may have ignored the requirement to openly declare all PFCC Mulligan’s interests, and impartially assess any conflicts of interest that arise therefrom.
Financial scandals which would never have happened in the private sector have been an ongoing problem with NYP (listed here).
In my experience, no employee in a commercial organisation would ever be allowed to have multiple additional employments. It is completely unacceptable for public funds to be used in this way. Hence the lead illustration from Codhead, which says it all.
Mrs Mulligan, the current PFCC Mr Philip Allott, the Home Office, the PABEW, The IOPC, the OPFCC Monitoring Officer Mr Simon Dennis, the PFCC’s Chief Finance Officer Mr Michael Porter, the Home Secretary Mrs Priti Patel and the Home Afffairs Committee were provided with an initial draft of this article and asked for a comment. Their response will form part of the next article: “Moonlighting Fandango”.